The World Trade Organisation has ruled European subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus were illegal.
The judgement still remains confidential, but the partial WTO ruling, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is said to find in favour of the United States. The US claimed loans from European governments, including the UK, violated global trade rules. US officials say the verdict is a victory that will restore competition. But European industry experts claim the case is much more nuanced. Aviation analyst Yan Derocles said: “It is the beginning of a long-standing process that could take maybe three to four years more to send the final report. We will also have to wait for the report that the WTO will send about the subsidies that Boeing has received”. While some loans were deemed illegal, the WTO dismissed many US claims, including those for Airbus’ giant A350 wide-bodied jet. It what is the most complex dispute in WTO history, the EU has brought its own case against US support for Boeing. That ruling is expected in about six months time.